5 shocking statistics about dental hygiene
Did you know, one in three adults have never flossed their teeth, that one in four of us have never used a mouthwash, or that a third of us only hotfoot it to the dentist when we have a problem? Sorry statistics indeed on this World Oral Health day. Read on to find out more…
1 One in four adults doesn’t brush twice a day (includes one-third of men)
Vow not to be one of them. ‘Oral health begins with clean teeth and gums,’ says American dentist Dr Katz, and founder of the California Breath Clinics and The Breath Company. ‘As well as cleaning your teeth thoroughly to help prevent cavities, make sure you clean above the gum line (where your teeth meet your gums) to help guard against gum disease.’
2 One in 10 adults admit they regularly forget to brush their teeth
Seriously? Forgot or couldn’t be bothered? Yet, we were all taught to brush twice a day before we could reach the bathroom sink. To add insult to injury, too many people rush through their toothbrush time ‘and end up missing whole teeth, or surfaces such as the back of the teeth,’ says Dr Katz. ‘Brush gently for at least two minutes, holding your toothbrush at a slight angle. Remember to clean the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue as this can help keep your breath fresh.’
3 One in three people have never flossed their teeth
Gum disease starts in the spaces between your teeth where your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Not cleaning between your gnashers can leave as much as 40 per cent of the tooth surface untouched and exposed to bacteria, explains Dr Katz. On top of using a good fluoride toothpaste, one of the most important parts of oral healthcare is cleaning those hard-to-reach areas between your pearly whites. Daily flossing or using interdental brushes, such as TePe which are designed to reach between the teeth and below the gumline, can help remove bits of debris that can lead to plaque or tartar build-up.
4 Only 50 per cent of adults visit their dentist every six months
Seeing your dentist regularly is important, but how often you need take a seat in the dentist’s chair differs from one person to the next. You may assume you should have a dental check-up every six months, but the time between visits can vary from three months to two years, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are, and your risk of future problems. Only your dentist can advise on this, and the frequency of your appointment will be based on how good your oral health is.
5 Sixty six per cent of adults have visible plaque
Our teeth come under constant attack from the starches and sugars in food, which are released as we chew. In the sticky bacterial film that forms on the teeth acid is produced. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay and cavities, other types cause gum disease, and, if not removed daily, it can harden into tartar. Too keep plaque at bay ‘brush with a decent toothbrush, and consider switching to an electric one, as these can help to reduce the build-up of plaque better than a manual brush. Plus, many have timers so you know how long you should be brushing for,’ adds Dr Katz.
What are your best tips for maintaining dental hygiene? Tweet us @healthymag – we love to hear from you!